This article was last updated on Friday at 4:27 p.m.
- Per today's government report, there are 4,227 new cases in Ontario, for a total of total of 378,339 since the pandemic began; 1,492 people are in hospital, 552 of them in intensive care, and 359 on ventilators. To date, 7,512 people have died.
- According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 46 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 15 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 118 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,755 confirmed resident deaths and 11 confirmed staff deaths.
- As of 2PM yesterday, Ontario's publicly-funded schools were reporting 160 new school-related student cases (for a total of 11,077) 36 new staff cases (for a total of 2,447) and three new unspecified cases for a total of 1,162; 1,300 schools are reporting at least one case and 69 schools have been closed.
- Per the government's report on Ontario’s vaccination program, as of 8 p.m. yesterday, Ontario has administered 105,382 new doses of COVID-19 vaccines, for a total of 2,940,166 since December 2020. 2,282,447 people have received only one dose, and 328,598 people have received both doses.
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- The Ontario government announced that it is introducing new measures to protect schools against COVID-19 which include refresher training, enhanced cleaning and asymptomatic testing. As these new measures are being introduced, the government will begin offering registration for vaccinations to education workers during the spring break.
- The Government of Canada is extending the support of the Canadian Red Cross in select long-term care and retirement homes in Ontario. This support was originally scheduled to conclude in March 2021, but will now continue until September 30, 2021. According to a statement released by the government, in addition to this extension, the federal funding will support Canadian Red Cross teams in providing support as needs are identified in long-term care and retirement homes across the province.
Starting Monday, Ontario hospitals are being instructed to “ramp down” all elective surgeries and non-emergent/non-urgent activities in the wake of a record number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units, reports CP24. Ontario Health President and CEO Matthew Anderson released a memo on Thursday to hospital CEOs and primary care providers telling all hospitals across the province to scale back elective surgeries as of 12:01 a.m. on April 12.
CTV News has released a full list of Ontario neighbourhoods where the COVID-19 vaccine will be available to those 18+. So far, the province has identified 25 postal codes in Peel Region and 53 in Toronto as priority spots for the COVID-19 vaccine. As vaccines become available, officials said eligibility would expand to high-risk neighbourhoods in other hot spot regions, including Durham Region, Halton Region, Hamilton, Niagara Region, Ottawa, Simcoe-Muskoka, Waterloo, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, Windsor-Essex and York Region.
Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area
- According to data as of April 8, there are 1,304 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 121,803 since the pandemic began; 488 of them are in hospital (101 new). In total, 2,842 people have died (six new).
Starting today, residents age 50 and older living in COVID-19 hot spot postal codes will be able to book vaccination appointments at City-operated immunization clinics. This expanded eligibility is part of the Phase 2 Team Toronto vaccine rollout, ensuring every dose available is used to protect the most vulnerable. According to a statement, the change will ensure an additional 265,518 residents are eligible to book vaccine appointments at City-run clinics. The list of eligible postal codes can be found here.
The Toronto Star reports that Peel Public Health declined to take 5,000 COVID-19 vaccines from the provincial supply for a shuttered Amazon warehouse in outbreak due to concerns vaccinating workers would not halt transmission within the facility and because vulnerable seniors in the community were to be prioritized. Peel's Medical Officer of Health, Lawrence Loh said that he questioned how it would appear if Peel Public Health “were favouring this one company … for vaccination ahead of the many seniors” in the community. At the time, the provincial framework prioritized residents of long-term care, adults over the age of 80 and health workers, he said.
84 high-risk contacts have been linked to a nail salon in York Region where seven staff members worked while they were infected with COVID-19, reports CP24. York Region Public Health is asking anyone who attended Nails at Anthony, located at 8099 Weston Road in Vaughan, between the dates of March 23 to 26 to self-isolate for two weeks from the date of their visit.
As CBC Hamilton reports, the CEO of Hamilton Health Sciences says the hospital network will start construction on its temporary field hospital next week. This comes as provincial health officials tell most hospitals to postpone non-emergency surgeries starting Monday, due to growing COVID-19 cases in hospital. HHS' new temporary hospital would provide 80 beds and accommodate patients near the end of their stay.
Research at York University has shown contact tracing interruptions, such as the kind seen in Hamilton recently and during previous surges of COVID-19, can “lead to an irreversible loss of control even when the epidemic was previously contained.” As the Hamilton Spectator reports, Hamilton public health said last month that contact tracing was no longer doable given the caseload.
A McMaster University researcher and a University of Toronto researcher say their analysis of Hamilton's first AstraZeneca vaccine pharmacy rollout shows the city's poorest residents were treated unequally. As CBC Hamilton reports, the analysis shows people in the lower city and rural areas (who are more likely to have low incomes) would have had to travel 30 minutes one way for vaccination, while people in the suburbs would have only needed to travel 10 minutes. Had the city established three clinics in the lower city, that disparity would have nearly vanished, the study found.
Hamilton health officials say they are launching a COVID-19 vaccination data collection plan to gather information about who in the city is getting vaccinated. The hope, the Spectator reports, is to know how people of different races and incomes are accessing, or not accessing, vaccines.
Niagara Region's vaccine appointments were fully booked as of Thursday morning, so some people (it's unknown how many) are booking in Hamilton, CBC Hamilton reports. Niagara Health says more spots should be available soon. Ontario NDP leader and Hamilton Centre MPP Andrea Horwath says it's confusing to people that travel is being discouraged, but booking vaccines in nearby communities is permitted. Getting a vaccine is considered essential under the stay-at-home order.
Niagara's acting medical officer of health Mustafa Hirji tells the St. Catharines Standard that some vaccine booking issues could be avoided if the province let local health units load their own clinic dates and times. Currently, the province handles that, but Hirji says it leads to delays that have left people unable to book appointments upon finding they're eligible.
Hirji also told the paper another clinic for Indigenous people living in Niagara will be announced soon. Despite being a priority early on, over 10,000 Indigenous people in the region have not been vaccinated.
- As of April 7, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 631 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. They are also reporting 292 COVID-19 related deaths in total, across all First Nation reserves in Canada. To date, Ontario First Nation communities have had a total of 1,666 COVID-19 cases.
- As of April 7, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 614 communities across Canada with vaccinations underway. 264,606 doses have been administered. ISC reminds the urban Indigenous population that First Nations living off reserve, Inuit and Métis are or will receive COVID-19 vaccination through their provincial or territorial health services. ISC is aware of vaccinations already taking place in several urban centres, including Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Whitehorse.
- Starting next Tuesday, Algoma Public Health will be opening its vaccine clinic bookings to adults 60 and older. Appointments for adults 70 and older are currently able for any day clinics are open, while adults 65 and older will be scheduled from April 24 and onward, and adults 60 and older will have their bookings availably by May 8 and onward. Vaccination clinics will be held at GFL Memorial Gardens on April 17 and 24, as well as May 1 and 8.
- The ramp down of elective surgeries in hospitals will not apply to northern Ontario, an Ontario Health memo to the province's hospital CEOs says. The memo notes however, that hospitals "should be prepared to ramp down quickly, in the near future" if necessary.
- Another person has died from COVID-19 in Thunder Bay, the Thunder Bay District Health Unit announced on Friday. Active COVID-19 cases in the region continue to decline, with 12 new COVID-19 cases reported on Friday, for a total of 101 active COVID-19 cases. Twelve people are hospitalized with COVID-19, including 5 in the I.C.U.
- With a decrease in the active number of COVID-19 cases in Thunder Bay, the medical officer of health has given schools the greenlight to resume in-person learning on April 19. Students have been learning at home since the beginning of March.
- Yesterday, the Thunder Bay District Health Unit announced that vaccine bookings for those aged 60 and older are filled. Three pharmacies in the city have begun administering the AstraZeneca vaccine to individuals 55-65 years-old, and those appointments are also filled, TBNewswatch reports.
- A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared in the Queen’s University district, where there are 70 active cases of COVID-19, the Kingston-Whig Standard reports. According to the region’s health unit, 18 to 29 year-olds made up more than 70 percent of all active cases in the region, as of Friday.
- Ottawa hospitals are facing a challenging few weeks ahead, says Greg Rose, the chair of the infection prevention and control committee at Queensway Carleton Hospital, especially as many city hospitals are already at capacity. “Numbers are going up and we are starting to see the effects of the variants that have been such a major issue in parts of the province,” he told the Ottawa Citizen.
- Ottawans flocked to the province’s vaccine booking website on Wednesday, when eligibility opened to those age 60 and older, CTV News reports. By 4 p.m., 43,000 Ottawa residents had booked an appointment.
- The Ontario government also opened vaccine booking eligibility to those 50 years and older living in certain “hot spot” neighborhoods in Ottawa — those postal codes are K1T, K1V, and K2V — though the city has said that it does not have enough vaccine doses for everyone in those areas, CTV News reports.
- As Ontario opened its vaccine eligibility this week to those 60-plus, Renfrew County residents spoke with CTV News about being unable to get an appointment in the province’s booking system. The reason? Renfrew County is using its own local booking system and the county has said they are not yet ready to accept the 60-plus age bracket.
- The provincial government’s announcement on Wednesday that vaccines would soon be available to those age 18 and older in COVID “hot spot” postal codes — seven of which are in Windsor, Leamington, and Kingsville — was news to the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, reports the Windsor Star. According to health unit CEO Theresa Marentette, they were still working to open up appointments to those age 50 and older in select postal codes.
- The London Free Press reports that with just two local pharmacies, both in the city’s northwest, offering the AstraZeneca vaccines to those 55 and older, London has only the same number of options as much smaller neighbours such as St. Thomas and Ingersoll. Those communities also each have two pharmacies receiving doses for the 55-and-older crowd. London Mayor, Ed Holder, said that more pharmacies will soon be equipped with the COVID-19 vaccine. “I’m optimistic that in the next number of days, there should be some announcements about an increased number — significantly increased number — of pharmacies opening across the city to support the needs of our citizens,” he said.
- Lambton Public Health is reaching out to residents who recently travelled with Blu Light Taxi. The health unit said four drivers have tested positive for COVID-19, reports BlackBurn News.